Anti-smoking advocates are trying to use Obama’s cigarette struggles as an opportunity to send a message to Americans about quitting.
Doctors reported that finding Sunday as part of Mr. Obama’s first checkup as commander in chief.
Yet anti-smoking advocates view the president’s cigarette struggles not so much as a setback, but rather as an opportunity to try to get more Americans to quit. And they place more importance on his desire to snuff out his tobacco usage than on his success in those efforts.
In particular, antitobacco advocates are using Obama’s experience as a talking point for young people.
“The difficulty he has quitting should send a message to our nation’s youth just how tough an addiction it can be once you start,” says Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in Washington.
If Obama does ultimately quit like millions of other Americans, this will be even better, antismoking advocates say.
“Should the president be able to quit, we and every antitobacco organization will hold him up as a shining example that even with all the stress he is under, it can be done,” says John Banzhaf, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) in Washington and a law professor at George Washington University. But he adds, “Right now, he’s not a poster boy for showing that people can quit.”